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Date: 05-24-2023

Case Style:

United States of America v. Tiera R. Lands

Case Number: 3:23-cr-00029

Judge: Brian A. Jackson

Court: United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana (East Baton Rouge Parish)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Baton Rouge

Defendant's Attorney:

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Description: Baton Rouge, Louisiana criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with wire fraud and money laundering in connection with numerous false and fraudulent applications that she filed to obtain funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program in 2020 and 2021.

Tiera R. Lands, age 30, agreed, as part of her guilty plea that she owned land and operated several businesses in Baton Rouge, including Virtuous Credit Solutions (“VCS”), and Virtuous Call Center, and through her businesses, she offered a variety of services, including credit counseling, tax preparation, and assistance obtaining business financing and loans. Beginning in or about March 2020, and continuing through April 2021, she devised a scheme to defraud the United States, through the United States Small Business Administration, and two participating PPP lenders, by filing numerous false and fraudulent applications for EIDL and PPP funds, both in the names of her own businesses and the names of other individuals and businesses located in the Baton Rouge area.

With respect to the EIDL program, after submitting one application the name of VCS and receiving $7,000, Lands submitted two additional applications for the same company, knowing that these applications contained false representations intended to induce the SBA to release approximately $300,000 in additional funds to which she was not entitled. Then, between June 30, 2020 and July 9, 2020, she submitted false EIDL applications in the names of three other businesses. All three of these applications contained false representations, which caused the SBA to disburse approximately $450,000 in funds to which neither Lands nor the named applicants were entitled.

Similarly, with respect to the PPP program, after submitting one application in the name of VCS and receiving approximately $20,000, Lands submitted two additional applications in which she made numerous false representations about her business. Lands also submitted at least seven more false PPP applications in the names of other individuals and businesses in which she inflated the businesses’ gross sales and payroll amounts, among other false statements. In connection with these applications, Lands submitted numerous fraudulent tax documents and payroll records, and she caused an authorized PPP lander to disburse nearly $250,000 in funds to which neither she nor the named applicants were entitled. In total, the false and fraudulent applications Lands admitted filing caused a total actual and intended loss of more than $1.1 million.

Lands also admitted that she would receive proceeds from her fraudulent activity in cash, and as she did so, she would deposit the cash into her business bank account and structure the deposits so as to conceal the source of the funds and avoid triggering transaction reporting requirements. For instance, on July 3, 2020, after receiving proceeds from fraudulent conduct, Lands deposited $5,900 in cash into VCS’ bank account, and, two minutes later, deposited another $5,100 in cash into the same account. Ten days later, between approximately 11:45 p.m. on July 14, 2020 and 1:17 a.m. on July 15, 2020—a span of approximately 92 minutes— Lands made five separate cash deposits into VCS’ bank account, totaling $11,000.

This matter is being investigated by the United States Secret Service, the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation, and the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office. The matter is prosecuted by AUSA Alan Stevens, who also serves as Senior Litigation Counsel for the United States Attorney’s Office, AUSA Brad Casey, and AUSA April Leon Johnson.


Outcome: 05/18/2023 12 MINUTE ENTRY for proceedings held before Judge Brian A. Jackson: Re-Arraignment as to Tiera R. Lands held on 5/18/2023. Defendant sworn and questioned by the Court. Defendant waives confirms waiver of right to Indictment and intent to proceed under Bill of Information. Defendant waives reading of Bill of Information. Defendant enters plea of guilty to Counts 1 and 2 as set forth in the Bill of Information. USA and Defendant authenticate plea agreement. Defendant confirms understanding of waiver of appeal and collateral remedies. Factual basis read into the record. For reasons read into the record, the Court accepts the Defendant's guilty plea and refers this matter to the United States Probation Office for pre-sentence investigation. Sentencing set for 8/24/2023 at 9:30 a.m. in Courtroom 2 before Judge Brian A. Jackson. The Defendant is released on conditions. (Court Reporter N. Breaux.) The United States Attorney is responsible for issuing any necessary writ to obtain defendant's presence at the 8/24/2023 sentencing hearing. Should the U.S. Marshal determine that a writ is necessary to obtain defendant's presence and that no writ has been received, the U.S. Marshal shall immediately advise the U.S. Attorney to deliver such writ in sufficient time to cause the defendant's presence at such hearing.(Stewart, Jesse) (Entered: 05/18/2023)
05/18/2023 Plea entered by Tiera R. Lands (1) Guilty as to Count 1,2. (LLH) (Entered: 05/18/2023)
05/18/2023 13 MOTION for Entry of Preliminary Order of Forfeiture by USA as to Tiera R. Lands. (Attachments: # 1 Attachment Memo in Support - Mtn for POF, # 2 Proposed Pleading; Proposed Order - Mtn for POF)(Casey, John) (Entered: 05/18/2023)
05/18/2023 14 PLEA AGREEMENT as to Tiera R. Lands. (LLH) (Entered: 05/22/2023)
05/18/2023 15 SEALED Supplement by USA as to Tiera R. Lands. (LLH) (Entered: 05/22/2023)

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